Morning (28 Sept) has broken, like the first morning.
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird,
Praise for the singing,
Praise for the morning,
Praise for ‘The Scillonian’ to take us to Scilly
Because the planes are, grounded again!
Thirty one assorted Mals, three new boys and Brian Peacock landed on the quay at St. Mary’s, would they all make it back?
As usual the Baggage Masters played a blinder and declared Every Mal for themselves!
The new management team at Tregarthen’s welcomed us, the flag was raised and the 2016 Trip began.
The DG briefing was, as usual, full of handy hints, allowing all the tourists to maximise their Scilly experience. Apparently it wasn’t a Rugby trip! Brian Peacock was singled out for a special mention having missed 54 years since his last trip. He also returned a trophy – Hide and Seek champion 1963, 64, 65, 66 etc.
Let the games begin! A winning trip etc….. First up, the tennis. The captain must have missed the briefing as a cautious selection led to a 2–1 defeat. Luckily tennis is a two-legged affair and the captain’s resignation letter was filed.
Alan Guest, a man for most crises if it involves balls, girded his loins and a 23–5 table tennis victory steadied the ship! Success breeds success, and Alistair Hick’s volleyball team also brought home the bacon with a 2–0 victory. Unfortunately, the weight of being baggage master lay heavily on Keith Williams shoulders (which isn’t much good if you are basketball captain), and a 10–4 defeat ensued.
First night dinner is always a hectic affair, staff introductions; Presidential changeovers; New Boy flushing and sponsors presenting this years crop of New Boys, but it all ran like a finely oiled machine. A teary Joss Davidge bade his farewell and we all welcomed Stewart Ward to the Presidential helm. A born leader, he quickly introduced himself to his son Jim. Other sponsors told us about Tom Elsbury, Rory Galloway, and Mark Lee. Myles Galloway, Jack Davidge, Tom Mileham and Brian Peacock were flushed in, and after a few sherries it was time for bed.
Thursday morning broke clear with a slightly chilly feel, let’s hope the sausages are spicy.
A new Mals media centre enabled our victorious and not so victorious team captains to reveal their results in front of our sponsors.
To the square. Golf has always been close to the Presidents heart and his drive into office amounted to 121 tiny paces. The Perry Pot and Morgan Mug were won by Alistair Hick and Steve Pickard respectively.
To the beach and beach football. The tide has been slowly turning, and with a younger squad and the correct kit a 6–5 victory was recorded.
Fresh from America’s Cup training our new Rear Admiral, Pete Nelstrop, scared ‘Tribute Team Scilly’ into a no show.
Unfortunately this malaise seemed to be contagious, and the scheduled beach volleyball was another no show! You can run but you can’t hide!
The hockey, a Presidential Blue Ribboned event, unfortunately ended in defeat, going down 1–4. Never mind, it’s the Scillonian Club evening, plenty of time to correct the ills of the day. Big efforts by all, unluckily led to defeats in the darts, pool, and snooker. The dark’n stormies are calling.
Down but not defeated, there were a few ballads before bed. The fashion of dressing gowns in the bar led by Ben Jakes seemed to be growing.
Friday morning. Where does the time, money and energy go? Cool and clear weather greeted us all on the golf course. Playing for the George Twist tankards, a new golfer/goofer American foursome format had been invented, and won by the Golf Organisator! This led to a distinctly fishy smell in the clubhouse… Picking Pete Nelstrop as his ‘Goofer’ partner also played its part. Pete now has more cups than a works canteen! No sour grapes! Alan Guest and Paul Calfe finished a close second.
Now the big one, The Golf Match. We have been coming a poor second in this event for a while. A hard fought match again saw the Mals claim the silver medal. The bowls team also collected a similar colour medal.
Dinner was again kindly sponsored by Nokia Ringtones; and during a lull Jamie Pooley proposed a toast to the New Boys. Jim Ward responded on behalf of Rory, Tom and Mark (and probably Brian…)
A busy evening saw three gold medals awarded to the Mals. In the battle of the Alamo, Davy Epton ably supported by his brother, Wild Rob Epton outgunned the Islanders 340–331. The Archers were also on target, winning 100–25, and last but not least, that reliable old warhorse Eddie ‘the Hitman’ Gladden inspired the Badminton team to a 2–1 victory. Life is good!
Stormy weather greeted us at breakfast and also on the golf course. Buoyed by his badminton victory, Eddie Gladden won the Bishop’s Beaker and yes, you can’t keep him out of the news, Pete Nelstrop won the Nosworthy Noggin!
Time for the cricket/football double-header up at the Garrison.
Cricket captain Jamie Pooley selected his most talented and in-form team to play St Mary’s. The Mals batted first and good performances from Jim Ward and Ben Jakes resulted in a healthy total, but unfortunately not healthy enough and St. Mary’s knocked them off with several balls to spare.
On to the football. How much is Smithy paying the hierarchy to keep his job? We lost this fixture 7–1 last year! What a difference a bribe makes! A very well drilled and workmanlike approach led to a creditable 1–0 victory. Young fit legs gave the Woolpack Wanderers a good run around. Well done the Mals. (Special credit to non-playing captain Harry for his hard work, planning, tactics and motivation to deliver this result).
Strong words from our President at dinner, focussed our minds for the evenings cerebral jousting events, the Quiz and the Boat Race.
Naivety by the President led to the selection of a non fish-eating Quiz team which in turn led to defeat for the Mals at the hands of Clive Mumford’s ‘think–tank!’ We are getting closer every year. Now for the Boat Race. Alas, as with the previous nautical sounding event there was a no show. Several Mals took this very hard and drank to forget their disappointment; subsequently some Mals not only forgot their disappointment but also their room numbers! It is nice to know that if we ever fill the hotel bedrooms that the corridors are a viable alternative!
Over half way now and another sunny Sunday. Shooting, tennis, cricket, football and guest night dinner. Nobody blink. The clay pigeon team met in the square and shot down the runway. Luckily the airport is shut on Sunday! A loss meant that the Super Sunday start we had planned was in danger of stalling. Next, the second leg of the tennis. Shaun would have analysed the performances from the first leg and normal service would be resumed. Unfortunately normal service wasn’t fast or accurate enough, and a 2–1 defeat followed. On paper the cricket squad looked strong. Unfortunately Tresco didn’t allow us to play on paper and another defeat meant we were heading for a not so Super Sunday. The Garrison Gunners awaited. Another very competitive and entertaining game of football ended with the Mals going down 2–1, giving us a draw on aggregate with the Islanders retaining the trophy. Unlucky Mals; it has been a while since we matched the Islanders at football.
Guest Night Dinner, a chance to entertain our Island friends, swap stories and fill our faces!
President Ward made everyone welcome and Five Island School Head Teacher Linda Todd enlightened us on the recipient of the Mal de Mer Merit Trophy winner Tara Hitchens. Well done Tara, make sure you’re back for hockey next year.
The President then said some kind words about our guests (which was a relief) and Avril Mumford responded on behalf of the Islanders. Avril, wife and minder of Clive, had confined him to barracks as the excitement of two consecutive nights with the Mals would have been too much.
The Thespians then acted their latest production Flinstones, the Musical!
Various acting awards were presented, several songs were sung and then it was time for bed, but not before a smaller version of the Boat Race, more a Punt Race took place! Fred Flinstone and Rob Epton thrashed Scilly ‘A’ team. I think the opposition comprised of Wilma ,Betty and probably Dino!
Monday, not long now. The Texas Scramble was ably navigated by Dave Epton, Andy Smith, Alan Guest and Joss Davidge. No time to lose, and it was down to the quay for our final off island visit to St. Martins. It is always a joy to play cricket on St. Martins, they always make us most welcome. A comfortable victory with one ball to go ensured that the captaincy was safe for another year. Ben Jakes (an obvious filler for the captains shoes) was cruelly dispatched when he was not only run out, but struck amidships by the present captain!
Smithy sang several hits from his upcoming album, and before we knew it we were down by the boat sheds getting the gigs out. Thank you everyone involved with the gigs. It is a real highlight and finale, all rowed into one! (I see what you did there. Ed.) The Mals had three boats and the Islanders two. Needless to say the Island juniors finished first with the other Island boat finishing second. The Mals crews comprised of an A (more like a) team, Old Gits and New Boys. As in previous years the Old Gits podiumed with other Mals teams probably still out there!
Theme night yippee! The theme was Where’s Wardy? and it was all too obvious where he was, as he was the only one in a blazer! Great turnout out from the Mals, looked like meal time in San Quentin!
Thank you Mals, Mr. Prez, Mr. O, Islanders and all the fantastic staff at Tregarthens.
Time for room bill settling and prayers for a clear day tomorrow!
The power of prayer played its part and all flights took off on time. Let’s look forward to the next trip.
Final score: Islanders 15 Mals 8½ (½ = unofficial Boat Race).